Title: The Philosophical Practitioner
Author: Larry Abrams
Publisher: Telemachus Press, LLC
Genre: Contemporary fiction
I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction, but I’m a sucker for philosophy so the title of this book grabbed my attention. A philosophical practitioner is a kind of counsellor who emphasizes reason but doesn’t slight emotions. I don’t know if there really is such a profession, but Eric is one. He doesn’t have patients, he has clients, and the idea seems to be that he helps people sort out how they view the world. They come to him for advice on how to live their lives.
The book is more of a character study than anything else. We watch as Eric talks to his clients and tries to get back together with his rich and famous girlfriend. Their goals and lifestyles are very different, thus providing a philosophical juxtaposition of two different world views. On top of this, his father is nearing the end of his life which, of course, raises more questions of philosophy, and a woman walks in to his office and says she wants to kill him. His attempts to avoid the crazy woman and work out why she wants him dead, provides the unifying thread for what would otherwise be a series of interviews, and it builds to a nice climax.
It’s a great idea with lots of opportunities to delve into the big issues of life, but the book just skims the surface. It wouldn’t detract from the book for most people, I just happen to be someone who loves a good philosophical discussion, and every time I thought we were going to get our teeth into something, the writer backed off. For example, one client mentioned that Eric had discussed the existence of God with a friend of hers. We saw the results of such a discussion but not the actual discussion, and I would have liked to have heard it. Going that little bit further would have given the book more depth, and I would have liked to have had a bit more insight into why he behaved as he did towards the unknown woman at the end.
As it was, it was an enjoyable, well written read with a couple of pleasant characters, an intriguing mystery and some thought provoking ideas. Eric was a surprising character and handled his fascinating clients in an interesting way. It’s definitely worth a read. I give it 3 stars and recommend it for those who like to reflect on their reading.